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The Most Haunted Forest In America Is Right Here In Massachusetts

The history of one of Massachusetts’ most mysterious spots is filled with murder, fear and the possibility of the paranormal.

Behind its beautiful, shady paths and sunny clearings, the Freetown Fall River State Forest is actually hiding one incredibly dark reputation. It has long been a hotspot for terrifying real-life occurrences and plenty of rumored supernatural happenings.

Part of the fabled “Bridgewater Triangle,” this forest appears to be a magnet for the weird and horrifying. It is known as the Cursed Forest of Massachusetts, and after learning about the area’s history, it’s easy to see why.

Its reputation is based on more than just rumor and speculation. The Freetown Forest is the site of numerous documented tragedies and crimes. In November of 1978, the corpse of Mary Lou Arruda was found tied to a tree in the woods. She was a local 15-year-old who had been recently abducted from the nearby town of Raynham about two months prior. James M. Kater was tried four times for the kidnapping and murder of Arruda, and eventually convicted.

However, that’s not even the creepiest story about this forest. In 1980, police were investigating a murder near the forest. They were approached by a number of locals who claimed to have witnessed Satanic cult activity in the woods. Some believed that these reports were connected to the so-called “Fall River Cult Killings” that occurred during the same period. Suspicious clearings, stained with animal blood, were found in the Freetown Forest. The curiously arranged carcasses of cattle were later discovered in the woods, lending more steam to the rumors of ritual sacrifice within the forest.

The forest was also the site of three more murders. In 1987, a homeless man was somehow mistaken for an undercover police officer and killed in the forest. In 2001, two men were found riddled with bullets on Bell Rock Road, which winds through the woods. There have also been numerous assaults reported along the perimeter of the forest and along its shady paths.

Other incidents border on the more bizarre. In 2006, reports of roving and aggressive dogs plagued the area. In the same year, an escaped emu was spotted wandering through the forest and rushing at visitors. As recently as May of 2016, wires were found stretched across frequently traveled paths through the woods. The wires had a sinister purpose: to catch off-road motorbike riders across the neck, and likely to decapitate them.

The supernatural reputation of this forest is equally formidable. The woods have allegedly been the site of blood sacrifices, UFOs, ghosts, black helicopters, mysterious orbs of light, strange disappearances, giant snakes, poltergeist activity, and even rumored abductions.

President Ronald Reagan himself reported seeing strange lights in the sky within the forest. Many people believe that the forest exerts a dark influence that drives people to suicide, while even older legends assert that Pukwedgies, humanoid creatures from Wampanoag native tradition, are known to stalk the woods.

Whatever you believe, there’s no arguing with the fact that the Freetown State Forest has fascinated residents for years. There are more than 50 miles of unpaved roads and paths that wind throughout the forest. If you’re not bothered by the forest’s dark reputation, it’s a beautiful place to hike, bike, ski and even dogsled.

However, even skeptics may want to make sure they leave the forest’s shadow before night falls.

Sophia
Massachusetts native. Freelance writer and strawberry eater. Get in touch: smitrokostas@onlyinyourstate.com.